The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

January 6, 2013

No-fly zone for Spartans

Lakers' defense smothers Conneaut

CONNEAUT — The air traffic controller was not too fond of fly bys in the movie “Top Gun.” Turns out Pymatuning Valley coach Jeff Compan doesn’t like them a whole lot either when it comes to playing defense on the basketball court.

The Lakers, which had developed a habit of running past offensive players with the ball early in the season, changed their traffic patterns a bit in beating Conneaut, 54-24, on Saturday at Garcia Gymnasium.

“We want a hand in the shooter’s face,” Compan said. “When we have a hand in their face on a shot, we’re able to box out. We were doing a lot of fly bys early in the season.

“We were waving as we were flying right by someone taking a shot and that was leading to a 5-on-4 or we were trying to get there and flying right by the ball handler leading to a 5-on-4. I told the girls if they hit a shot with your hand in their face, good for them, it was a good shot. We don’t want to give up any freebies.”

Those were issues Compan and assistant Mel Nowakowski had addressed in practice leading up to the battle with the Spartans (4-7).

The Lakers (8-2, 4-2 in Northeastern Athletic Conference) contested shots pretty successfully against Conneaut in blocking seven attempts and holding the Spartans to a less-than-stellar 15.2 shooting percentage (7 of 46).

“We really focused the last couple of days on contesting shots and rebounding,” Compan said. “One-shot possessions are what we want. Early in the season, we weren’t good at contesting shots. We’ve lost twice and they were close. Looking back at those films, we probably gave up 10 freebies.

“When you’re losing by two and giving up 10 freebies, that’s an issue. We changed it up. We want to contest and contain. We apply enough pressure that if we contest and contain, we’ll be successful.”

Pymatuning Valley had dispatched the Spartans, 56-16, not long ago. In doing so, the Lakers had forced a good number of turnovers. The Spartans rectified that a bit in getting 46 attempts from the field.

“I’m definitely much happier with the way we played (against PV this time),” Conneaut coach Tony Pasanen said. “We turned it over less and had more shot attempts. The shots just didn’t fall. We were much better handling the pressure. We’ve got to build off that.

“Give the girls credit. It’s something they’ve worked hard on.”

The Lakers still managed to steal the ball 16 times and force 25 turnovers.

“PV’s a great team,” Pasanen said. “There’s not a whole lot more to say. I told the girls they’re just better than we are.

“We made some adjustments and played better. The way to get better is to play the best competition you can. (PV) definitely makes us better.”

Handling full-court relentless pressure is just one aspect of beating the Lakers’ defense, though.

“Conneaut did a good job breaking the press,” Compan said. “They had a nice gameplan. I tell our girls that a team has to work hard to beat the press, but then they still have to beat the half-court trap. Hopefully we’ll do good at on one of those two things.

“I was happy with the defensive effort.”

With the Spartans not being able to knock down many shots, rebounding became a key. The Lakers held a 45-29 edge in that regard, mainly because Megan Stech grabbed 15 boards, though she had battle the very physical presence of Conneaut’s Angie Zappitelli and Tori Simek.

“I used to go up against my older sister (Constance) and she pushed me around so I’m used to it,” Stech said.

“(Rebounding) was pretty important. (Conneaut) can mainly make their short shots. When they missed, that gave us a chance to get it and run the court for a fast break.”

Geena Gabriel led the Lakers with 13 points, Stech had 12, Kelsea Brownn 11 and Heather Brant added eight.

Lexi Zappitelli paced Conneaut with eight points and Simek added seven.      

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Advantage, Diemer

    Every pitcher wants to get the advantage against every batter she faces. Edgewood lefty Taylor Diemer gave herself that edge and it proved to be key as the Warriors topped Madison, 1-0, Friday at Edgewood.

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    SOFTBALL
    NON-CONFERENCE
    Edgewood 1, Madison 0
    at Edgewood

    April 19, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    SATURDAY, APRIL 19
    Baseball

    Brookfield at Conneaut (1)
    Grand Valley at Berkshire (10)
    Chardon at Madison (DH, 11)
    Edgewood at Fairport (11)
    West Geauga at Riverside (11)

    April 19, 2014

  • Spartans knock around Dragons

    After being cooped up in gymnasiums for the better part of the season so far, the Conneaut and Lakeside softball teams were just happy to get onto a diamond. Playing for the first time in nearly a week, the Spartans toppled the Dragons, 11-2, Thursday afternoon at Lakeside.

    April 18, 2014

  • PV can’t get past Mathews

    Thursday afternoon at Pymatuning Valley, the visiting Mathews Mustangs were able to do what every coach hopes for — execute. They played a clean game from start to finish in every facet of the game, and that carried the Mustangs to an 8-2 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    BASEBALL
    NAC
    Matthews 8, PV 2
    at PV

    April 18, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:

    FRIDAY, APRIL 18
    Baseball

    Geneva at Edgewood (11)
    Niles McKinley at Edgewood (5)
    Conneaut at Lakeside (4:30)
    Madison at Euclid (4:30)
    Softball
    Madison at Edgewood (4:30)
    Geneva at Mentor (10, DH)
    Tennis
    Conneaut at Madison (4)

    April 18, 2014

  • Justin Butler Justin time

    It was just four short years ago that Justin Butler was spending his fall on a soccer field.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: ‘Kids’ stuff’ spurs great responses

    I’m often caught more than a bit off-guard by what stories, features or columns generate responses from you, Loyal Readers, much more so than those who do not.
    For example, the column that appeared in this space a couple of days ago regarding things yours truly and my buddies did as kids prompted more than a few responses.
    A sampling, many of which were posted on my Facebook page:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • kyle GANG GREEN

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Week in Review January 10 and 11
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video